Friday, March 29, 2019


Life this week has been non-stop and I am so tired. Guess what this photo below is all about and guess if I ever refer to them.  (I am so ready for some TV show tonight with a smooth-talking, tall, dark and handsome spy with some European background scenery and a wild action plot with some romance at the end...know what I'm talkin about?

Wednesday, March 27, 2019

Spring Cleaning Downton Abbey Style

I have finally made it up to the top shelves and the deep, dark and dusty shelves of my kitchen.  After throwing out plastic plates and some containers, I found the wooden box that I had known was there but forgotten about. I had used the contents a half dozen times in my mid-married years and then got very busy and put it up and away.

I had forgotten how heavy it was and it was a bit of a balance as I climbed down my small kitchen stairs to put it on the counter. Many of you already know what is inside.

It was a second marriage for both mother-in-law and my father-in-law. They were young and up and coming in Detroit. This was a wedding gift maybe or being as my father-in-law was a blustery man who liked to impress, perhaps he bought it for his wife one anniversary?

It is a very large set of silverplate/silverware? by Kirk which was a famous manufacturer. I think my mother-in-law said it was silver plate, but it looks like silver to me. "Founded in 1815, in 1970, Samuel Kirk’s company was “America’s Oldest Silversmiths."   “America’s Oldest Silversmith” was acquired in 1979 by The Stieff Company and was renamed The Kirk Stieff Company. Operations at the old Kirk Avenue factory were quickly moved into the more modern Stieff factory in the Hamden section of Baltimore."  There is even a cool book on the Internet that I may print out.

I see the larger set of silverware selling on E-Bay for between $1,500 and $2,000 dollars and this set is huge with even more in storage beneath. I called my daughter and told her it was hers to inherit because I will never spend the needed time cleaning silver or having enough formal parties to justify such use. It seems such a shame to just let it sit in a brown box for more decades. She wanted it and I hope she uses it. She entertains far more than I.  Sending it to a more appreciative home.  Some of the flatware even has grandma's initials.

Monday, March 25, 2019

Spring Cleaning Zen

Posted a photo of this table on FB as a "giveaway" although many might have thought I was wanting to sell it as I did not specify. I would like to get money for it, but I would like to get it out of this corner even more.  It folds out to dining room size. I may replace it with an old, small oak roll top desk so that I have a place for a lamp. No one sent me a message that they might want it...

Stuff! Old people have too much stuff! I gave away an oriental rug last year to an animal habitat center for their rummage sale. The same pattern and size were being sold on the Internet for between $1,000 and $2,000 dollars! It was a big, heavy, old rug that was kept in a roll in the basement for years. I had tripped over it many times on my way to the shelf for paper towels. It had belonged to my husband's parents, and we had no room large enough for it.  See a third of it still rolled up below.  I do not know if it sold at the rummage sale. (Taking the standard deduction this year, so all this stuff is truly donations.)

We replaced the old cast iron BBQ with a new one this year and that is on its way to the thrift shop...if they will accept it. It still works but has a problem with baffles cooking evenly.

I have a collection of baby furniture from my daughter to hold for my son.  It appears that my son cannot have do I give away the crib and other stuff?  Do I hold out hope they will adopt?  Do I just leave it in the stairwell under the basement stairs?

I have too much food as well as stuff.  I reorganized (did not say cleaned out, although a batch of expired stuff made it to the trash can) my pantry.  I have food in there for years.  How many types of rice and pasta does one need?  One would think I lived through a major recession!  

I am going to try to live a more Zen life.  I think it is healthier to not keep things that one does not use.  Life is too cluttered already.

Now I am going out to get rid of too much in the way of weeds.  That I really have too much of!!!

Thursday, March 21, 2019

The High Wire Balancing of Hi-Tech

I will begin the post with something I stole from my son's house. I actually asked him if he or his wife used it and he said no. I asked if I could have it and he said yes. BUT it really belonged to his wife who got it as a promotional gift months earlier and she was in NYC at the time. It is a computerized coffee/teacup. You charge a battery in the bottom of the cup through the saucer, you set the temp from about 120f to 145F and your drink stays hot from the first to the last drop. It takes a bit of intelligence, acumen, tech-experience, etc. to get the App to show you what is happening on your computer...only took me under an hour! I even selected the color for charged and for heating. It pulses when heating. It works reasonably well and I like having a "hot" drink from start to finish. Would I buy one of these? Never. Too expensive. Also, there are other ways to ensure hot coffee, like a travel cup and I also feel the cup is too small.

My next techie thing was a gift I got for Christmas...a VERY expensive wireless headset. (My kids have connections and probably got a discount). I would never have bought such a high end one of these, but I do LOVE it. I can quietly listen to my digital courses, listen to my favorite podcasts, and even watch TV from my laptop without disturbing others. The sound is I have to start using it for music. Since it is wireless I can go to the kitchen and make coffee while listening or if carefully holding my head, put in another load of laundry. This little device only took me three days to figure out how to connect to my laptop AND my computer in various modes. Would I have bought this for after using it for months? Yes! The sound quality and noise canceling are really good.

My old cell phone was very old. I could not upgrade any Apps and my son explained it was time for me to get a new one with much more memory. I decided it would be nice to have a phone with a better camera lens and so I got a high-end Google Pixel. They were on sale in the shop and they always set it up nicely so that you pay for it over time through your phone bill, thus naively avoiding the sticker shock. Maybe in two years, I will actually own it. I love the ease of use and extra memory. I have not downloaded many new Apps, except this morning I spent an hour trying to figure out how to connect to my DSLR through the house Wi-Fi and to the phone. I kept going through the assistance directions on my laptop, but it never seemed to let me get to the next step. I wanted to use it for remote control of the DSLR with ease like the guy on the YOUTube video showed. I did succeed in spilling the hot coffee on the tray on the cushion next to me. Thus I spent the next 15 minutes washing coffee off the couch and changing my clothes! 

I do have a remote control for my camera, and I also have a delay timer on the DSLR, but what fun it would be to see through the phone before snapping me in the group photo!  Oh well, another day.

I am surrounded by techies.  My 13-year-old grandson was impressed that I had replaced my old clunker cell phone with this new one. I was feeling a little guilty that I get praise from him by spending a small fortune on technology.  Yes, two of the grands were into technology big time when we were up there grand-child sitting.

Where she gets those legs???
And Hubby was not going to be outdone reading his book on his Kindle at the same time.

But there is still one primitive soul at the house that does his high wire act the old-fashioned way...and I was just a bit jealous.

Monday, March 18, 2019

Let Me Add a New Term to Your Vocabulary.

The lady that likes to hibernate is being forced into the usual crazy spring schedule: weekends doing a scheduled weekend of grandchild sitting, a weekend birthday, family flying in from Colorado for a VERY BRIEF meetup where we drive up to the city to see them just for lunch (long involved story of two weddings), a dinner out with friends, spring projects such as getting a window washer in ( I have always done this myself, but find it just too draining), finding some yard help in this very rural area, and finally being roped into assisting a reefball project in the county.  

You may ask, "What are reefballs?"  Please go to this link and read to your heart's content. 

It took us over half the day to complete what is called the "build" part of the project.  We missed the second day which was the "hatch" because we had to drive up to the city.

Photos below for those who like to build projects that improve the environment:

 Molds are sprayed with sugar water to prevent the cement from adhering when the mold is opened.

Our illustrious leader explained how to put together the molds.  He covered safety as well and did a bang-up job!

The high school students were then released to team build their molds.

A layer of sand goes on the bottom to protect the  cement from adhering to the plywood platform.

 New floats (air bladders) are inserted and an air pump inflates them part of the way.

 About 9 plastic small balls are slipped down the side of the mold to create the holes so that fish can swim in and out.

The students were then taught how to mix cement.

They carefully added the wet cement and others tapped on the sides and top to vibrate the cement down the sides to the bottom. 

These troopers made about 16 reef balls before the day was over.

A grant helped get money for all new tools which we tried to keep clean after use.  Note that they are leaning against other reefballs made a few months ago.  The primary reason for the build is to get oyster spat to attach and help purify the Bay.

Sunday, March 10, 2019


The first "harbingers" of spring are the rewards for the work you do in November and December, and this work is drying bulbs, dusting off their dirt and cutting away all the dead stuff, wrapping them in the newspaper, and storing them in the dark basement; and when you cannot stand another long dark winter day, bringing them up and partially burying them in fresh potting soil in freshly cleaned pots that are soaked in hot water.  The bulbs wake up with an extreme urge to find the light, flash their brief beauty to live again another year...much like us.

I was sitting on the floor in my kitchen enjoying the peace of a very quiet morning. Hubby has been gone on a reunion-type trip for four days, my house heating system has been broken for the same four days (which makes it even quieter than normal), and there is all the rest of the stuff going on in my life that I will avoid burdening you about.  I needed the resilience of seeing the rare sunrise through my "harbingers" of spring's showy skirts against the kitchen window from a new low angle with camera in hand.  Amaryllis dance the samba, so who can ignore the joy in that?

The wooden floor in the kitchen is colder than usual and my nose is a bit colder than usual, and soon I need to move my old joints and collect the wood from the rack on the front porch and get a warming fire going.  We have lots of wood because my forest is dying and hubby made sure he split a lot before he left.  The trees are tall and should live longer, but they cannot fight the dramatic shifts in climate that did not challenge their ancestors.  I have at least six species of woodpeckers moving in with their hammering and shredding, very content about all of this.

The weatherman has promised 60-degree weather in the days ahead, which also will probably mean the repairmen will arrive much more promptly since I need them less now.  No one stocks parts, parts are held in warehouses in other states, and repairmen give you 5-hour windows and show up at the exact time the window closes to do their work.  Only us retired folks can deal with this.

Each evening I have snuggled down in the heavy quilt at night as a blanket of 27-degree air hung around the windows begging to get in.  Each morning, once the chill is off with a warming fire, I can do chores and blogging and cooking and forget I am not a pioneer woman.

Shot with hand-held telephoto...guess it is not that cold.

Sunday, March 03, 2019

Out of Pocket

This is going to be a very difficult week ahead for me. Without going into the details it involves a loved one and a test for the family.  I do not think  I will be  able to  have  energy to post in the coming days, but I will still be here,   just focused elsewhere.   Please send good  vibes into the universe or helpful prayers to your spiritual leader that we will have a successful outcome for all.  Thank you!